opening up

Work and blogs have never mixed very easily for me – a legacy of sensitive jobs and some slightly unorthodox outside interests. But I am starting to relax my boundaries a little, as work edges closer and closer to the sorts of things I like to write about anyway. Right now, plants and history (and plant history) are the main points of contact.

My office is in what used to be the scutching room of an old Cheshire cotton mill, a Victorian addition to the Georgian factory. The windows look out onto the landscaped gardens of the mill owner and his family – keen plant collectors, whose legacy is one of the finest rhododendron collections in the country. In the warm and wet weather last week, the whole place erupted into blossom.

Take a look…

These photos hardly do it justice – the weather didn’t help – but I had to try and capture some of the glorious colour filling our workdays at the moment. The scent of the azaleas is just incredible, too, heady and intoxicating. Walking through the gardens on a day like this feels like wandering into a hyperreal technicolour wonderland.

A lot of these rhododendrons are unique to this site, cultivated by the second mill owner  – the same man who commissioned the building which eventually became my office. At least one of them remains un-named, and the gardeners here are applying to name it. I’m not entirely sure how they know it doesn’t have a name, or how they go about naming it, but I’m trying to find out! In the meantime I’m leading the campaign to name it
Rhodie McDendronface…

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